<![CDATA[Allison Gingras ... Reconciled To You - BLOG]]>Sat, 24 Feb 2018 17:37:54 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Lenten Lessons: A Time to Refill Your Grace Well]]>Sat, 24 Feb 2018 08:00:00 GMThttp://reconciledtoyou.com/blog/lenten-lessons-a-time-to-refill-your-grace-well

What is Grace? and Why Do I Need It?

The Allison abridged version for the definition of grace?  Grace is the undeserved, yet freely given gift of God's Holy Spirit living within us.  It is pure gift from a purely loving God. Sanctifying Grace is what we receive in Baptism that allows us to participate in a life with God.  Actual Grace can be thought of as those passing, sometimes momentary, glimpses of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives.  A little (or a lot) of divine assistance to guide and support us through life.  This gift of God's grace is abundant. We need only dip into the spiritual well-spring to receive it.  Why do we need it?  Grace is the fuel for our souls to reach Heaven.

Filling Our Grace Well

The most effective way to refill our ‘grace well’ comes through the other gifts God has for us.  Primarily, prayer, Sacrament, and Scripture, or what I affectionately refer to as the “Grace Trifecta”.  The secret is simple, and not really a secret, immerse yourself daily in conversation with God - ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and I guarantee that door will be flung open!!

Entering into Conversation with God aka Prayer

  • Rosary as prayer abacus. I employ this alternative use for the Rosary when I am having either a very distracted day or one filled with many prayer requests. For each bead, I bring to mind someone needing a prayer – offering that bead’s prayer for their specific intentions. At the end of the Rosary, I have prayed for at least 55 people. In praying the Rosary, grace abounds.
  • Turn your inner voice to one of constant communication with those in heaven. Engage your Guardian Angel, Blessed Mother or favorite Saints (aka Your Saint Posse) in dialog. You will find the conversations not only more useful and encouraging, but it will also help you move closer to St . Paul’s exhortation to “pray without ceasing”.
  • Do you feel like you spend all day in your car? What about praying for the intentions (known or unknown) for those in the houses you pass in your travels.  I call this, “praying my town.”  I offer prayers as I pass by homes of sick friends, families with new babies, as well as the police and fire stations. I also pray for the souls in Purgatory, with either the Requiem Prayer or this short prayer, “Jesus, Mary I love you, save souls” when I drive past a cemetery.

Online Pray More Lenten Retreat

There are many honors in my life that I shake my head at and wonder - how on earth did I get that blessing. Being on of this year's Pray More Lenten Retreat presenters is RIGHT up there among the craziest!   Blessed to be sharing my favorite way to build a foundation of faith - the Grace  Trifecta.  Click the image below to learn more!! 

Sacrament

  • Learn more about the incredible mystical beauty of the Liturgy so to be fully present for each celebration of the Eucharist. Some of my favorite current books on the Mass include A Biblical Walk Through the Mass by Edward Sri, Seven Secrets of the Eucharist by Vinny Flynn and The Power of Daily Mass by Bert Ghezzi.
  • Get Ye to Adoration. Why? St. Alphonsus Liguori makes one of the best arguments for finding a way to work this incredible practice into your week:
  • “Know also that you will probably gain more by praying fifteen minutes before the Blessed Sacrament than by all the other spiritual exercises of the day. True, Our Lord hears our prayers anywhere, for He has made the promise, ‘Ask, and you shall receive,’ but He has revealed to His servants that those who visit Him in the Blessed Sacrament will obtain a more abundant measure of grace.”
  • Frequent Confession. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is one of great healing. When we come to the Priest to confess we are doing more than leaving our sins at the foot of the cross, we are being filled with God’s grace to go forward and sin no more (or at least sin a bit less). This a great gift that we all need to open more than just once a year!

Scripture

“Ignorance of Scripture is Ignorance of Christ” St. Jerome

Choose one scripture verse a month to memorize. Some suggestions from the well-spring of scripture that has blessed and transformed my life:
All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2018



How Do YOU Fill your Grace Well?
What are some of your Favorite ways to build a stronger faith
foundation through Prayer, Sacramentm and Scripture?


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<![CDATA[#WorthRevisit - Tech Ideas for Lenten Prayer, Fast, and Alms]]>Wed, 21 Feb 2018 05:37:47 GMThttp://reconciledtoyou.com/blog/worthrevisit-tech-ideas-for-lenten-prayer-fast-and-alms
Have you decided how you will spend the next 40+ days living out the tenets of Lent – Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving? Sure, it began a few days ago, but honestly, it is never too late to devise and implement your Lenten plan. Most years I revise it as I move through the 40+ days. Every effort (no matter how small) we make, I am quite certain, the Lord (abundantly) blesses.

Technology Solutions for the 3 Tenets of Lent

Have you decided how you will spend the next 40+ days living out the tenets of Lent – Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving? Sure, it began a few days ago, but honestly, it is never too late to devise and implement your Lenten plan. Most years I revise it as I move through the 40+ days. Every effort (no matter how small) we make, I am quite certain, the Lord (abundantly) blesses.

As your typical overachiever, I always have way more plans (or at least options) than I could ever balance or sustain. I suppose I just shoot high and contentedly settle for mid- to low results. It is my excitement with the out-flowing of grace during this season that gets the planning juices flowing.

Prayer

My husband Kevin and I have been married for over 28 years, however we have never found a good prayer rhythm as a couple. Over the years we have tried the Rosary, Lectio Divina, even working through a few bible study books together. When Kevin entered Diaconate formation in our diocese, we were introduced to the Liturgy of the Hours. Probably best to say, ‘reintroduced,’ although life-long Catholics, these magnificent prayers of the Church and for the Church, were never part of our prayer arsenal. We use the iBrievary app and website to pray the Evening Prayer together; while we try to recite it daily, we are going to make a special commitment during Lent to assure we do.

Not sure who or what to pray about? The answer can be just a few clicks away. I have been accused of using this idea of praying what I discover in my Facebook or Twitter news-feed as a justification from perusing them longer than probably prudent; however it truly is how I react to the stories scrolling along my screens. When I see people in need, I pray. When I read of people suffering, I pray. It also happens to be a great Spiritual Work of Mercy – Praying for the Living and the Dead – making this not only suitable for Lent but also appropriate for this Jubilee Year of Mercy.
Have you decided how you will spend the next 40+ days living out the tenets of Lent – Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving? Sure, it began a few days ago, but honestly, it is never too late to devise and implement your Lenten plan. Most years I revise it as I move through the 40+ days. Every effort (no matter how small) we make, I am quite certain, the Lord (abundantly) blesses.

Fasting

  • Live The Fast Not only does this site offer great resources for a fruitful fast, but they also offer specially formulated breads to assist physically in the art of fasting. The lost art of fasting – but Andy LaVallee and his team are sure doing good stuff to help bring it back in a powerful way!

I found three wonderful articles that explain the CRS mission and their wonderful Lenten App:**This option can also be used under ‘almsgiving’ as well!

Almsgiving

Deciding how to share your gifts of time, treasure and talent – doesn’t come from a website or Android App – it comes from your heart.  Through prayer and discernment, I have no doubt the Holy Spirit will guide you on how best to offer your gifts this Lent.

The quote,“Love isn’t love, until you give it away” attributed to Oscar Hammerstein II, came to mind as I contemplated how I would address almsgiving in this Lenten column. As I googled the quote’s origins, I came across this beautiful Reba McIntyre song. I decided it would make the perfect accompaniment to our pondering where God is calling us to show charity this Lent.

Share you favorite Lenten Tech Solutions in the comment section below!!


This article first appeared in Catholicmom.com, Feb 12, 2016
All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2018

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<![CDATA[#WorthRevist LENT is for Learning Forgiveness]]>Wed, 14 Feb 2018 13:09:53 GMThttp://reconciledtoyou.com/blog/worthrevist-lent-is-for-learning-forgiveness
#WorthRevisit Blog Link Up The ICYMI Posts - Allison Gingras shares Lenten Lessons on Forgiving Others including yourself

Abundant Grace for Living Holy

Lent is such an amazing time - it truly is a time of special and abundant grace. When I prayed about what I should focus on this Lent a few years ago - FORGIVENESS - kept emerging. At first, it made very little sense to me, as I feel I'm pretty solid with this subject. I mean, come on, I give retreats on forgiveness for heavens sake! I bare my soul over and over, sharing how I have needed to forgive and howI have needed to be forgiven. In addition I believe in God's mercy and love, and fully accept and cherish His gift of forgiveness.
#WorthRevisit Blog Link Up The ICYMI Posts - Allison Gingras shares Lenten Lessons on Forgiving Others including yourself

40 Days of Learning to Forgive

Forgiveness needs to extended because Christ first offered it to us. I especially love how it is given so beautifully in Reconciliation (big, big fan!). So what more could there be? God gave me two CLEAR answers.
  • It is a lifetime process
  • Forgiveness is something to be lived out every single day of our lives.
  • It isn't always about you! That I get that particular message a LOT actually!
  • Forgiveness is an Act of the Will it is NOT a feeling!
A few years ago I spent my Lent digging deeper intothe Catholic ideas and ideals of forgiveness. I shared my personal experiences (some painful, some hysterical), many of the profound, and always right to the heart. In addition, I provided Scripture verses that have truly transformed my journey of forgiving, that I prayed would  help others as well. 

Lastly,  I pondered the peace inducing insights and inspirations of my favorite book on forgiveness: 

Pauline Books and Media Forgiveness A Catholic Approach LIFE changing Book

2018 Lenten Forgiveness Retreat


#WorthRevisit Blog Link Up The ICYMI Posts - Allison Gingras shares Lenten Lessons on Forgiving Others including yourself
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<![CDATA[#WorthRevisit - Please Do NOT Give Up Social Media for Lent!]]>Wed, 07 Feb 2018 04:57:28 GMThttp://reconciledtoyou.com/blog/worthrevisit-please-do-not-give-up-social-media-for-lent
Really. Please don't leave Social Media for Lent. I understand that many people use this hiatus to spend time working on their own personal spiritual growth; and I can completely respect that HOWEVER

It is Important to Stay Online ... at least a Little

Really. Please don't leave Social Media for Lent.  I understand that many people use this hiatus to spend time working on their own personal spiritual growth; and I can completely respect that HOWEVER.... please don't completelydisappear for the 40 days for Lent when social media needs you the most.  Okay, I've always had a flair for the dramatic but here's why I am begging you to stay:

​'Tis the Season

Lent is a season when many people make a resolution to investigate or rejuvenate a faith life. The internet just happens to be a place many people will turn for guidance and even perhaps seek a community to take the journey with.  So, what happens when those who are most likely to post something faith based, could possibly answer questions or would be open to connect as community make a mass exodus off social media during Lent?? There is a risk for missed opportunity to evangelize, catechize and support those seeking meaning through an experience with Christ this Lent.
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If You Simply Must Leave Social Media for Lent

Some alternatives to consider if you still feel called to follow a social media blackout:
  • IF you simply must log off for Lent - here's a fun fact: Sundays are your 'get out of Lenten sacrifice free' card. You are not bound to your Lenten promises on Sundays. So take advantage of this day of reprieve and log on and share and connect!
  • Choose to reduce the amount of time on social media. Cut back not out.
  • Tithe a portion of your social media engagement to sharing scripture, Christian music or Pope videos, saint quotes, or even funny Catholic memes.
  • Consider the use of a Social Media Scheduler to share your posts throughout Lent.  Remember: You can log on and set them up on Sunday.

Walk in Her Sandals with WINE this Lent ... Virtual Vineyard Small Group available. Learn more!

How I Am Spending my 2018 LENT

​This year WINE: Women In the The Evangelization is once again journeying through Lent with the one of a kind Lenten themed Book: Walk in Her Sandals: Experiencing Christ’s Passion through the Eyes of Women.  Like the movie, Groundhog Day, we are repeating our actions to learn more and more each time.  After a year of praying, studying, and even just living, we are not the same person as in 2017. I am excited to see all the God has done in my life as I once again reflect on my personal journey with Christ through the eyes of not only the women in Walk in Her Sandals, but the ladies on the virtual with me.

MORE on the Book
You’ve never read a book like this before:


It’s part Bible study, part reflection on women’s special gifts, part prayer and discussion guide . . . all tied together with a fabulous biblical historical mini-novel about women living through the events of Jesus’s passion, death, and resurrection. Reading it will draw you into the experience of Lent in an entirely new way. It will deepen your relationship with Jesus. It will lead you to contemplate your own gifts in light of his work. And it will encourage you to step out into the new year refreshed and empowered to follow the Lord.

CLICK HERE:  To Join the WINE LENTEN BOOK CLUB ... including exclusive WINE Lenten email; WINE Enthusiast resources, and to WINE Walk in Her Sandals book and journal bundle. ON Facebook - Search for the WINE Lenten Book Club and join our growing community.   We'll be sharing quotes, video, photo challenges and so much more!  It is my GREAT honor to be once again facilitating the online component of this awesome Lenten Book Club!!


All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2017
Book Club description quoted from the WINE website, all rights reserved.

Each Wednesday the Finest Catholic Bloggers come together to share there Favorite Past Posts that maybe you missed ... join us here!
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<![CDATA[#WorthRevisit ~ 5 Confidence Builders for Leading a Small Faith Sharing Group]]>Wed, 31 Jan 2018 13:48:05 GMThttp://reconciledtoyou.com/blog/worthrevisit-5-confidence-builders-for-leading-a-small-faith-sharing-group
Allison Gingras shares Confidence Builders for leading Faith Sharing Group. Although initially overwhelmed at the idea of hosting or even leading a group, the blessing it had been in my life was too great to let the fear keep me from providing this opportunity to others. The first real issue...

Embracing Hospitality

February 2006, the first time I walked into a room full of women gathered to study God's word together - not only with a bible but along with a book!  The book, The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren - would begin a remarkable transformation of my faith life.  Although, I only stayed with that first group for three years, recognizing the blessing of coming together on a weekly basis, now, in a very unlikely role, I am the host!

Family Clean vs Company Clean

Although initially overwhelmed at the idea of hosting or even leading a group, the blessing it had been in my life was too great to let the fear keep me from providing this opportunity to others. The first real issue - the family vs company clean status of my home on any given day.  My busy schedule and self confessed laziness made the idea of having a spotless home every week - daunting to say the least.  Then came my fear of not knowing enough to be 'in charge', and lastly, what if no one wanted to come or I wasn't able to maintain a friendly environment.  Sadly, I had seen friendships strained when faith belief's collide.  All valid concerns but none insurmountable.    

A quickly learned, true friends are cool with family clean (as long as they are not sticking to floor or furniture, and you've wiped down the bathroom things are cool), they weren't coming to see what I knew but to grow in relationship with Christ, and lastly, all you can do is treat people with love and respect. Over the years as I have held small group book / bible studies at the parish, other people's homes and yes, even in my own dining room!  While there may arise a difference here and there, we've managed to avoid fist-a-cuffs, so I can safely say all my fears have been completely unfounded! 
Allison Gingras shares Confidence Builders for leading Faith Sharing Group. Although initially overwhelmed at the idea of hosting or even leading a group, the blessing it had been in my life was too great to let the fear keep me from providing this opportunity to others. The first real issue...

So let me share my top 5 confidence boosters that I hope will inspire you to invite friends and soon to be friends to encounter God and a life of faith in a whole new way!!

  1. Begin with prayer - both personally when planning and at the start of each gathering!
  2. Trust the Holy Spirit to be the true facilitator!!  He is the one that will help you know who to invite, which books to select and how to keep the conversation flowing and on point.
  3. Be attentive to the faces of the women sitting before you. Some women will have no trouble sharing - but others will come week after week and never say a word. Be sure you never put anyone on the spot to talk, however be sure you make eye contact throughout the night to acknowledge you know they are there. After the meeting, if there is a particularly quiet participant, it might be a sweet gesture to send an email letting them know how glad you are they are there.  Everyone regardless of how they choose to participate is a blessing and an integral part of the group!
  4. Keep the conversation balanced. The opposite of the introverted non-sharer is the well intending sometimes verbose participant.   These ladies usually have some amazing points, so you don't want to discourage their sharing either but there needs to be a balance - this can be the hardest task for a facilitator but with a little prayer and lot of practice it becomes like breathing!! No really!
  5. Don't be afraid of silence. Time to contemplate during your gathering is a GOOD thing!!  Don't feel you need to fill all the empty spaces - and encourage the others to do the same.  Everyone processes information differently, some people need more time to gather their thoughts to answer than others.

BONUS  TIP

Guess What.  You DO NOT need to know all the answers!!  If you need to look something up - do it.  If you need to check with your Pastor and get back to the group - do it!   A facilitator is not a teacher - while you may have skills in that area, it is not necessary.  As Joshua says, DO not be afraid, be bold and courageous, and as Nike says, Just Do It!  

Allison Gingras shares Confidence Builders for leading Faith Sharing Group. Although initially overwhelmed at the idea of hosting or even leading a group, the blessing it had been in my life was too great to let the fear keep me from providing this opportunity to others. The first real issue...
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